'An innovative, evidence-based approach to address social isolation, trauma and aid recovery'.
“I enjoyed playing someone different. Playing a brave character instead of just running away. I can see how playing different people and facing challenges could help me to become more confident”.
Camden Game Cafe, is a weekly face-to-face therapeutic gaming project for people currently experiencing homelessness.
We work with multiple other homelessness agencies and services including One Housing, SJOG, Single Homeless Project (SHP), Change Grow Live (CGL), St Mungo's to bring together clients on the homelessness pathway together, once per week, and facilitates them in playing an TTRPG with the intention of providing an entertaining game, a creative escape, and an opportunity for positive social interaction. The project is a co-creation between the clients in the group and Games Therapy UK.
Whilst the clients are engaging with the game, we also take the opportunity to intervene and provide training in social skills, support drug and alcohol recovery, and offer psychological therapies.
Why Therapeutic Gaming?
From our initial discussions with clients in the hostel pathway it was felt that there would be an interest in setting up both mixed, and female only game groups to play RPGs.
Also, RPG’s use ‘avatars’ (the in-game character) which we thought might be helpful for some clients reluctant to participate in traditional therapies, such as drama therapy.
Sixty one percent of homeless service users are classified as ‘lonely’, and over a third of service users reported feeling isolated ‘often’.
(Campaign to end loneliness. London: CTEL)
Rupert Greyling from 'The Goblins Chest' GMing
Camden Game Cafe includes a specialist homelessness recovery counsellor, a professional game designer and facilitator (Games Master).
The approach is evidence-based, and our aim is for this project to be scaled-up and run at other services across the country. We are already in contact with other services interested in replicating this model.
The Camden Game Cafe presented its initial data at ‘Pathways From Homelessness’ International Symposium, London March 2023.
We will also share the data from this and other Game Therapy UK projects via this site.
'The use of TTRPGs activities to help the clients model communication skills, and emotional self-regulation could be invaluable in preparing the clients for more conventional therapeutic interventions'.
"There's no shame here. It's kinda like being a kid again. You're told as adults you can't do this, you can't have that imagination. And here you can have as much imagination as you want and that's really fun. You feel way less self-conscious and able to lose yourself in it".
"It's really helped me. It's been absolutely fantastic, and it's been a great place to come and forget and have fun and be a bit of a kid again".
“I really enjoyed it and will be recommending it to my clients.”